A few weeks ago I did a recommendations list of the non-fiction books I’d read lately and I threatened to do the same for fiction books. Today is the day. These are all books I’ve read recently and loved.
Kingdom of Needle and Bone
by Mira Grant
One of Mira Grant’s novella releases, Kingdom of Needle and Bone follows the trajectory of a measles outbreak on steroids. And it starts from Disneyland with the main character’s beloved niece. The book is a heart-wrenching, horrifying exploration of just how bad the results of the current anti-vaccination tendencies could get if the measles virus gets enough traction to mutate.
The book is written in a style very similar to many other Mira Grant shorts, especially familiar to those who have read Rise: The Complete Newsflesh Collection. While the story really focuses on a specific doctor and her extended family, the wider world, and the events unfolding there, has a huge role. In typical Mira Grant fashion, she paints a picture that feels all too real, all too human, and all too plausible. In my opinion, this is one of the best Mira Grant novellas and that’s saying something.
by Seanan McGuire
Yes, there are two books by Seanan McGuire on this list. Because of course there are! Seanan McGuire’s work is brain candy for me and she puts out enough to keep me in entertainment. One of the things I love about her work is her ability to create all these complete worlds that somehow still feel distinct while pulling from all these wonderful mythologies and traditions. Middlegame is a departure from the things she’s done before but in a very Seanan McGuire way. Mad alchemists creating sets of twins to take over the world when they grow up. Broken, damaged toys who decide take their destinies in their own hands.
I’m trying very hard not to spoil this book because I know a lot of people care about that, but so many of my favorite elements come up later in the book and are either straight up spoilers or the kind of things that some people consider spoilers and since I’m not someone who cares about spoilers, I’m choosing not to share, but if you’ve ever enjoyed any of McGuire’s work, you’ll probably love this book.
The Light Brigade
by Kameron Hurley
The Light Brigade short story is easily my favorite Kameron Hurley short so when she announced that it was going to become a novel, I was excited.
This novel did not disappoint. There are few people who can write “corporate dystopia with a bit of hope” like Kameron can, and The Light Brigade is very much that! Kameron writes this very visceral sort of fiction that grounds you in the protagonist’s body, even when they have been broken down into light particles to transport in time and space. She’s known for the dystopias, but for my money, this one was more hopeful than Kameron usually goes with. And again with the spoilers. I love how Kameron does human relationships for her misanthropic heroines. They don’t have to be alone even when they’re not the perfect princess, even when they’re bleeding to death.
The Luminous Dead
by Caitling Starling
This is going to be a bold claim, but I think this one might be my favorite of this lot. The ultimate woman vs nature book, The Luminous Dead, for almost all of the book, has only two characters, sometimes not even that. Caitlin does this amazing job of creating some awesome body horror and she really does a masterful job of tightening the suspense in a way that turns the book into a thrilling adventure through an evil cave. The point of view is so tight that you’re never quite sure if the character is hallucinating or seeing things that actually exist. The mystery at the heart of the story pulls you along, even when you may want to close your eyes and look away. It’s Caitlin’s debut and an amazing one at that.
The Book of Flora
by Meg Elison
The book of Flora is the last entry to the Road to Nowhere trilogy and it brings the journey that begun with The Book of the Unnamed Midwife to a stunning close. Meg explores gender and especially what it means to be a woman from multiple perspectives in a post-apocalyptic setting. And more importantly, Meg uses a mixture of third-person and epistolary narrative that just blows my mind. The stories of the people on the pages of these three books feel real to me in a way that much of dystopian fiction does not seem to manage. Meg doesn’t shy away from the fact that women can be monstrous, too, even if men killed the world.
Here we are again with the spoiler thing, but there’s not much more of the ways I love this book to mention without spoiling either this or one of the previous books.
Your turn, dear reader; which one of the recent books you’ve read would you recommend?